WNYC's Kai Wright and Kaari Pitkin on kids caught in the system.


“The work we do as journalists on some level is exploitive. That is why then we have an ethical standard to not just be trying to entertain people…That is to me, horrific, because there has to be an actual meaningful reason why I'm doing it.” -- Kai Wright

WNYC’s Kai Wright and Kaari Pitkin talk morality and ethics, especially with minors as subjects, for their rare, probing view inside the tangled world of the U.S. juvenile justice system. The 2019 duPont Award-winning podcast series “Caught” focuses on young voices behind bars. Wright and Pitkin tell Columbia Journalism School’s Sally Herships it was critical to add those often silent voices to the mix.

“So much of our criminal justice conversation, everybody gets a seat at the table of the conversation other than the people we’ve labeled criminals,” said Wright.

Wright and Pitkin raise the many challenges they faced - how do you protect the kids? How do you trust them? How much focus do you give to the actual crimes? How do you develop trust without overpromising the impact of your reporting?

Tune into this week’s episode to hear how they handled these journalistic and moral dilemmas, and then listen to “Caught.” (And check out their latest, The Stakes and their long-running Radio Rookies.)

“Caught” is a perfect example of the kind of hard-nosed revelatory journalism honored by the duPont-Columbia Awards. You have only a few days left to enter your own audio, video or digital reporting for the 2020 duPont Awards - the deadline is Monday, July 1.

Go to duPont.org to enter before it’s too late!